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tv   PBS News Hour  PBS  March 31, 2014 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT

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captioning sponsored by macneil/lehrer productions >> woodruff: a dire warning on the effects of climate change. a u.n. panel of scientists conclude it may get out of control. food and water shortages, floods, droughts and other threats to societies across the globe. good evening, i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill, also ahead tonight. the pain and the pride experienced by the 2.6 million americans sent to fight in iraq and afghanistan. we examine a new survey on the scars of war. >> woodruff: plus, it's deadline day for the new health insurance exchanges. but a surge of people racing to sign up caused more problems for the website. and mixed experiences for those trying to beat the clock.
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those are just some of the stories we're covering on tonight's pbs newshour. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: >> i've been around long enough to recognize the people who are out there owning it. the ones getting involved, staying engaged. they are not afraid to question the path they're on. because the one question they never want to ask is, "how did i end up here?" i started schwab with those people. people who want to take ownership of their investments, like they do in every other aspect of their lives. >> supported by the john d. and catherine t. macarthur foundation. committed to building a more just, verdant and peaceful world. more information at macfound.org
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>> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> ifill: from the coasts to the heartland, people everywhere are feeling the effects of global warming, from economic damage to health threats. that's the conclusion a global group of scientists reach in an extensive new report issued today. they urged world governments to respond by curbing carbon emissions. we'll have a full report, and analysis, after the news summary. >> ifill: general motors' troubles took another turn for the worse today. the auto maker recalled 1.3 million chevrolets, saturns and pontiacs because the power- steering assist can stop
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working. it's the latest in a string of recalls that began last month with faulty ignition switches. the company faces a congressional hearing tomorrow over that issue. >> ifill: crews trying to find the missing in the washington state mudslide are now confronting a new danger, toxic slide. officials said today the mud and debris contain sewage, propaine, and household chemicals, and possibly germs carrying dysentary and tetanus. >> everybody that goes out to the incident scene that gets out of the vehicle has to be decontaminated when they leave the scene. so there's procedures set in place, military department has a decontamination unit set up so we don't bring any bad stuff back out. >> ifill: the confirmed death toll in the mudslide remains at 24, with 30 people still unaccounted for. thousands of americans spent this day trying to enroll for health insurance.
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the federal exchange, healthcare.gov, had 1.2 million visitors by midday, amid some new technical problems. this was the deadline to sign up without paying a penalty, but many people will be eligible for extensions. more on all of this, later in the program. an outbreak of the deadly ebola virus has grown into an unprecedented epidemic in west africa. that warning came today from authorities in guinea, where the disease has killed 78 people. neighboring liberia reports one death. nurses have struggled to help the victims. ebola kills nine out of ten people with severe bleeding, but there is no vaccine or specific treatment. >> ifill: the small fleet of planes and ships searching for the missing malaysia airlines jet came up empty again today. a cluster of orange objects in the southern indian ocean turned out to be fishing gear. ten planes and 11 ships are now involved in the search. and in perth, australia, prime minister tony abbott told air crews that officials are far from throwing in the towel.
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>> it's very important that we do whatever we reasonably can to solve this extraordinary mystery and you are our investigators. you are the people upon whom the hopes of so many people around the world are restin >> ifill: the airliner disappeared more than three weeks ago. russia put out the word today that it's pulled several hundreds troops back from the border with ukraine. but thousands remained, and the ukrainian government said it's still worried. russian prime minister dmitry medvedev visited newly annexed crimea with promises of economic aid. we'll get more from margaret warner, who's just back from ukraine, later in the program. the government of france has resigned after the ruling socialists took a drubbing in municipal elections. sunday's results showed deep dissatisfaction with president francois hollande and his
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handling of the economy. instead, voters turned to conservative and anti-immigrant parties. this evening, in a televised address, hollande named a new prime minister, and acknowledged public discontent. >> not enough jobs, too much unemployment, social justice needs to be improved. still too much uncertainty over our capacity as a country, despite our many assets. >> woodruff: the socialists held on to >> ifill: the socialists did hold on to city hall in paris, which elected its first woman mayor. former israeli prime minister ehud olmert has been convicted of taking bribes when he was mayor of jerusalem. the announcement came in a tel aviv court. it followed a sweeping corruption probe that forced olmert from the prime minister's office in 2009. and in pakistan, former military ruler pervez musharraf was indicted for treason for suspending the constitution in
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2007. he pleaded not guilty. >> ifill: north korea and south korea got into an artillery duel today, firing hundreds of shells into the yellow sea, near the disputed maritime boundary. the north opened fire first, and the south answered. no one was hurt, but the south korean defense ministry warned it better not happen again. >> ( translated ): our military believes that north korea's maritime shelling is a planned provocation, an attempt to take the initiative in the south- north relationship. if north korea provokes our islands and waters using our fair counter shooting as an excuse, our military will firmly punish them. >> ifill: the shelling came a day after north korea threatened to conduct another nuclear test. on wall street, stocks moved higher, after the federal reserve chair, janet yellen, played down any prospect of raising interest rates. the dow jones industrial average gained 134 points to close at 16,457. close just short of 4,199.to
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the s-and-p 500 added 14, to finish at 1,872. still to come on the newshour: a dire warning about the global effects of climate change; iraq and afghanistan veterans fighting the scars of war; deadline day for the new health- insurance exchanges; the diplomatic stalemate over ukraine; and the secret program that brought nazi scientists to the u.s. >> woodruff: the new u.n. report on climate change is full of serious warnings and predictions of what's to come. but it's also especially sobering about what's already happening around the globe. it was written by the intergovernmental panel on climate change, or i.p.c.c., a group of hundreds of scientists and other experts. the latest in a series of reports being released this year.
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>> woodruff: intense heat waves that feed fires, wiping out forests and homes. prolonged droughts that damage food and water supplies for billions of people. and sharply higher costs for farmers, consumers and businesses alike. it's all laid out in today's report by the i.p.c.c., meeting in yokohama, japan. >> the one message that comes out very clearly is that the world has to adapt and the world has to mitigate and the sooner we do that the less the chances of some of the worst impacts of climate change being faced in different parts of the world. >> woodruff: the authors say absent that action, the effects of global warming may get out of control. the intergovernmental panel on climate change is pressing for a global agreement next year on curbing carbon emissions. and in a statement yesterday, secretary of state john kerry endorsed that idea.
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even so, there are a few voices urging restraint. dutch economist richard tol removed his name from the document last week. saying it paints too stark a picture. >> but what the report, for instance, forgets to say is that even though climate change may reduce crop yields by two percent per decade, at the same time crop yields are going up by 10%, 15%, 20% per decade, due to technological change, so it's not the case that climate change will cause life-threatening famine, instead climate change will mean that crop yields will go up more slowly. >> woodruff: the obama administration has moved to curb greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and autos, but faces an uphill battle in congress, and among the american public, if it tries to implement a broader climate agenda.
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separate polls last year, by the pew research center, found more than two-thirds of americans believed the earth is getting warmer. but only one-third saw government action as a priority. >> woodruff: a closer look now at the specifics, and the questions raised by this, from two people who worked on the report. michael oppenheimer is a coordinating lead author of it. and a professor of geosciences and international affairs at princeton university. and patricia romero lankao of the u.s. national center for atmospheric research was a lead author of a chapter about north america. she's a sociologist who studies the societal impact of climate change. and we welcome you both to the program. michael oppenheimer, it seems one of the screaming headlines from this is that people need to pay attention. what had been felt to be in the future is happening now. how do you read the main conclusions today? >> right. we're already detecting some of
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the effects of climate change on the whole system we live in. we're detecting changes in crop yields. we're detecting changes in the frequency of heat waves and heat waves kill, and we're detecting the massive changes in globally important systems like the arctic and coral reefs on which people's lives and the climate system depends. so changes are happening and we need to get on doing something about it, both reducing the emissions causing the problem and learning to adapt because some of the climate change is inevitable. >> woodruff: so staying with you, michael oppenheimer, is this happening faster than scientists thought, or has it always been realized it was going to be felt about this time? >> there are two statements in the report among many whichly single out that are different from the last time we went through this six and a half years ago. number one, the discovery that there are more areas -- far more
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areas in the world where crop yields have declined due to climate change, and many fewer areas where crop yields have increased, and that's a bad sign because, as we heard in the setup piece, for many decades, crop yields had been increasing at 10% or 15% per decade. that trend has come to an end, in fact, so there's no way to be optimistic about it unless we change what's going on out there. the other thing i point to is health impacts. again, more people are in trouble or dying due to heat waves than are avoiding disease because we're having somewhat warmer winters. so the balance is certainly shifting, already. we're seeing that, sure of it and that puts a big question mark about the future. >> woodruff: patricia romero lankao, who is feeling the effects of this? >> many north americans are already feeling the effects of this. as we found, the glaciers are retreating and this is affecting
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water resources on the west coast of the u.s. we are also, as michael already said, experiencing mortality due to heat waves. as we can see, when heat waves affected europe, killing about 35,000 people, mostly elderly. and this is across the years. we are usually used to the idea that only the poor and the future generations will be affected by climate change, but what we've found in this report is that the affects of climate change are widespread and substantial for things we in the u.s. value, such as forests, water resources and species of animals and plants that we so much love because they make our landscapes beautiful and amenable to a barter quality of
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life. >> woodruff: patricia lankao, if you're someone who hasn't paid attention to this and thought this is far off in the future, what do you start thinking about? >> what we start thinking about is not only climate change is having consequences for us and things we care about, but also that there are opportunities. we evaluated many of the actions communities, water utilities and energy utilities, to local governments in the u.s. are taking, and i see that that's good news. we have challenges for sure. we know if we do not act now to reduce the impacts, to reduce emissions and to also better prepare our communities to deal with these impacts, we will be negatively affected.
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so there is a closer window of opportunity that we see we need to use and use it now. we need to act now. >> woodruff: michael oppenheimer, what are the most important things that need to be done now? i mean, clearly, there's a lot of conversation on cutting back carbon emissions, greenhouse gas emissions. what should the main focus be now coming off of this report? >> well, my personal view is that the obama administration has started the job of cutting emissions and continue that by putting forth additional regulations which would basically eliminate carbon emissions from existing, coal burning power plants. beyond that, what's really important for this country is that we realize that our ability to cope with big climate events like hurricane sandy isn't so good today. we're having trouble dealing with today's extreme events. how are we going to deal with more intense heat waves,
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potentially stronger tropical cyclones and a higher sea level in the future if we can't even handle today's? so very important for the government to get out there and help get americans ready to deal with and cope with the climate challenges that are going to come ahead. and then the third thing would be leadership. the reason americans are kind of uncertain about how much support they should give climate change is until recently there hasn't been much leadership on this issue and still nothing out of congress. we need leadership from our governments, from cities up to the national government, to help us get together as a society because this affects everyone and organize to get this problem solved. >> woodruff: and patricia romero lankao, what do you say to those? because we know there's still a large degree of public skepticism about whether people need to be making sacrifices, whether there should be -- there are job tradeoffs, for example,
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what do you say to folks who are still not sure this are really urge snnt. >> well, what i would say is there are opportunities and a lot of innovations and experiments underway. i am an expert on climate change and i have seen how local governments, communities and farmers are already reducing changes. we know we now have to have shelters to protect people when hurricanes hit our coasts. we also know that we need to introduce conservation measurers to protect our weather resources when we are affected by droughts. and mainly cities in the -- and many cities in the u.s. have improved leadership in not only the investigation arena but all
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arenas. i am optimistic. i believe in the abilities north americans have to respond to this challenge and see win-win opportunities. we found many win-win opportunities, meaning actions that do not only protect us from climate change, but also put us on the international spot as leaders in the creation of new energy systems and systems to protect us from the impacts of climate change. >> woodruff: patricia romero lankao, michael oppenheimer, thank you both. >> thank you. >> ifill: many of the 2.5 million veterans of the iraq and afghanistan wars have served multiple deployments, survived injury that would have killed them in earlier conflicts, and now cope with unprecedented mental and physical challenges. a new survey commissioned by the washington post and the kaiser family foundation paints a conflicted picture.
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rajiv chandrasekaran of the washington post joins us with more details. and we also hear from two veterans. tom tarantino, deputy policy director of iraq and afghanistan veterans of america, and nathan smith, chief operating officer of hire heroes usa. rajiv, what was the most surprising number you found in this survey? >> a combination of numbers. 2.6 americans, this group, we know of their service and the sacrifice, but we really don't know how well they're adjusting back to civilian life. on the one hand, i was struck by the fact 43% said their physical health today is worse than before they deployed. a third said their mental or emotional health is worse. that figure you just put on the screen, 55% said they feel disconnected from civilian life.
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these are a group of people that have been battered, a tough time with transition, frustration from the services they're getting from the government. yet, knowing all that, almost 90% say they feel proud of what they did out in the wars, and almost 90% say, knowing everything they knew now, gwen, all the danger, separation from family, that they'd do it again. >> ifill: how do you rate the job the government is doing for them now taking care of them? >> not so well. about 60% say the veterans administration is not doing enough, is doing either a poor job or only a fair job in meeting the needs of this generation of veterans. about 50% of them say the pentagon isn't doing enough to help ease the transition from military life to civilian life. yet, when asked how they themselves are doing, 80-plus% say their own needs are being met. now, we carefully asked that question. we asked them about their needs in general, not if the
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government is meeting needs. part of the interpretation is needs are being met not just by government agencies but by non-profits, faith-based and other communities groups. america has stepped up to try to help these people, and we are seeing that, in individual cases, they're saying, yeah, i'm getting the help i need. but when they look out as a whole, they're concerned. >> ifill: i'm curious about something you touched on, a number said they're not disillusioned at all by their service and would do it again. >> i think this speaks to the strength of the all-volunteer military. this wasn't a draft army. almost all of the folks who fought in iraq and a afghanistan signed up voluntarily. >> ifill: 53% we have on the screen says it was worth fighting. >> in afghanistan, yes. smiewrl numbers for iraq. only 35% say both wars were worth fighting, higher public as a whole. how do you recognize 90% say
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they feel proud of what they did, almost 90% said they would do this again, that speaks to they feel it was their service and made a difference. >> ifill: tom tarantino, how different is this reaction from veterans of past wars? >> well, i think you see the general reaction from veterans from former servicemembers that they are proud of their service and that what you did in combat is important to you. i mean, this definitely is the reaction that i get not just from our members at v.a., but myself, i'm not a politician or historian, they can judge the iraq war. we are proud of our service. my little part of iraq was better when i left than when i got there and that's why i and my soldiers are proud of what we did. >> ifill: nathan smith, when you look at reports, does it
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make you feel you're finally telling the truth about experiences of servicemembers in a war like this or in some ways it's giving servicemembers a bad rap? >> i think it does both. i think the statistics are certainly true, they mesh with what i experienced personally as a marine entry officer in two tours in iraq. subsequently, professional, what i've seen at chief operating offers here, one of the challenges is we find these articles or news stories can sometimes portray veterans in a negative light. again, statistics are balanced, they're accurate, but when you interview veterans and spotlight some of the challenges that they're having, people who are unfamiliar with the veteran population may conclude that all veterans or most veterans have posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury or significant difficulties finding a job, and that widens the scwizzuschism between an all-vor
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force and the majority of the public who hasn't served. >> ifill: what part is it of society's and government to givp these people assimilate. >> part of the deal is the government will have our back when we get home. i think it's important we tell the stories. i think it's important that we bring this data out to light because not only does it help give the american public which doesn't have a connection to the military an accurate view of what's going on, it also lets them know about our successes. this poll shows that the majority of veterans don't have posttraumatic stress and it gives us an opportunity to help the american people form an accurate opinion of what the military community is like as well as high light our successes. >> ifill: nathan smith i want to ask you one more thing, also, which is do you think that the government is doing enough? when we look at the numbers, the veterans administration has seen its budget increase, yet people
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are very negative about the veterans administration -- veterans, that is, many veterans, i shouldn't say all -- so what is not being done? >> sure. i think the resources are there, and it's been very encouraging over the past several years to see a dramatic increase in what government is doing. i think where the solution lies now is to allocate these scarce resources where they're best used, what are the best in class organizations, who's doing the work whether public, private or government, you know, who's doing the best work out there and how do we direct the resources to the programs already in place rather than creating new ones or continuing to fund even sometimes government programs that may not be as effective as the ones out there. >> ifill: rajiv, going back to the report, the department
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of defense made a commission with similar findings. is there any evidence this is being tackled? >> on multiplele approximately levels. you have more research being done sponsored by the pentagon and v.a. you have new programs put into place by the department of veterans affairs. a very generous post-9/11g.i. bill sending many of the veterans off to college to compete in the workforce. the military is putting in initiatives to ease the transition, particularly as the overall force draws down because of budget cuts. but, you know, the discussion we're having here i think is essential and one that speaks to the real challenge facing our senior most policy makers and defense leaders because we on the one hand have a sacred obligation as a nation to care for them. and one needs to high light the needs so the appropriate resources can be made available in washington and get to those people. so you have to be truthful in the damage and in the scars that have been created by 12 years of war.
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>> ifill: do you think it makes it harder for them to get a job? >> this is the fine line because, at the same time, this is not a broken group of people. a third are suffering from ptsd but two-thirds aren't. so it's a very difficult message, and this is one that when i spoke to senior military commanders, senior officials at the v.a., this is an issue they struggle with every day, to talk about this group of people as a group who has some needs but a group that can also and is also being fundamentally productive members of american society, employing their leadership and other skills they learned on the battlefield into the economy at large. >> ifill: quite an amazing spread on "the washington post" web site. take a look at it. tom tarantino, iran-afghanistan veterans of america and nathan smith of higher he roughs u.s.a. thank you all. >> woodruff: it's the last day for americans to sign up for the
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new health insurance exchanges in this first year of the program, and there was plenty of demand. there were also more glitches and problems. but in stark contrast to the launch last fall, hundreds of thousands have been able to sign up in recent days. and the system seemed more resilient than in october. >> woodruff: the healthcare.gov website bent under a last minute crush of traffic, more than 125,000 users at any given moment. the site was out of service for nearly four hours this morning, and, it briefly went down again in the afternoon. >> i can't believe this is actually working! >> woodruff: some last-minute applicants sought out help centers around the country. this woman signed up for coverage in arlington, virginia. >> it's going to save us thousands of dollars, thousands of dollars a year, in terms of our prescription, his prescription being covered,
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we're going to our monthly payment is considerably less, we're going to get coverage. >> woodruff: others were frustrated. one texas woman said she gave up trying to enroll online. >> it was just a mess on there. page after page and it never got me to where i needed to be so i've kind of given up on this and i'm just gonna go here. >> woodruff: as the day began, more than six million people had signed up through the federal and state-run exchanges. that's about a million shy of the original goal. estimates from some insurers show 80% of those applicants had paid their premiums. in addition, more than four million people will be eligible coverage for medicaid. at the white house today, press secretary jay carney painted a picture of success. >> we're achieving something today that i know has our critics gnashing their teeth. i know it leaves them with the need to go back to the drawing
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board when it comes to other means of trying to attack a law that is providing opportunity and security to millions of americans. >> woodruff: but senator lindsey graham and other republicans insisted again the health care law is unworkable. he tweeted: "you have to tear it down and start over." in the meantime, enrollments aren't done just yet. the administration is granting extensions to anyone who says personal issues or technical problems prevented their completing the process. >> woodruff: and we look at some of the many questions being asked today. we're joined again by mary agnes carey of kaiser health news. and susan dentzer, a health analyst for the newshour. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> woodruff: susan, what's the latest on what's happened today? we know people were madly signing up, at least some were, what are the final knurls? >> we don't know the actual final numbers for today, but we do know that the department of health and human services says that 1.6 million visitors --
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visits were made to healthcare.gov, the federal health insurance web site, and that more than 800,000 calls were placed to call centers. and that, of course, leaves out what happened in the state ex plaining changes. we know -- the state exchanges. we know there are 14 state-based exchanges and the district of columbia, we don't know the numbers there, but it's quite conceivable that potentially another million people have signed up in the past few days. >> woodruff: for anybody who's watching who hasn't signed up, who wants to sign up, how much time do they have with the penalty if they don't? >> well, right now, you can go on the web site if you're enroll through the federal exchange and check a box saying you want to get on. you will get an email potentially later today. we already know the administration said if you've had difficulty enrolling to date you have at least till the middle of april to enroll, and then we have special enrollment periods where people with vairs
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you other circumstances will be able to enroll and no outside deadline is set on that. so could be we'll be getting more enrollment for the next several month. the other thing to point out, anybody who wants to sign up for medicaid who's eligible can sign ut at any point so that enrollment continues throughout the year. >> woodruff: mary agnes, a large part of the purpose of this in the beginning is to get people who didn't have health insurance to get covered. now in terms of the big picture, how is that going? >> fairly well from the administration's point of view. the goal of 6 million was hit last week. they're hoping they can get more folks enrolled but i think a key test is the affordability question. do people find the premiums affordable, how about their co-pay for the out of pocket expenses, the deductibles, that seems to be the real test we have to look at to see if it works. >> woodruff: what are you finding about that? i know you have been reporting on this for months now.
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is the prepond rains of evidence saying it's not as bad as we think snts. >> it's all over the map. how competitive is the marketplace, how many insurers want to get involved, what are the prices at the local hospitals, the physicians charges, how does that impact the goes. our reporters found out, in philadelphia, you might bay 77% more for a policy if you're a 40-year-old man than if you got that same policy in pittsburgh. now, the subsidies can help with that cost, but in georgia, for example, prices can double in one part of the state versus another. we found a rural georgia town where the premiums were more expensive than beverly hills, which is not what you would think. >> woodruff: sit hit and miss all over the country? >> it's a complicated law on what was already a complicated
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insurance policy. we know 80% of the people signed up on the marketplaces so far have been eligible for the premium tax credits. for some people, that lowers the cost to zero. they pay zero premium to get coverage. so we'll have to see how all of this comes together when the final numbers are in. >> woodruff: that's not medicaid. >> private coverage through the exchanges but are paying a zero premium, basically nothing, because they have substantial premium tax credits. >> woodruff: we know, mary agnes, there's been relentless criticism from republicans. we're hearing again today they want to repeal it, fix it or change it dramatically. what are you finding from ordinary folks? i'm interested in hearing from both of you. what about the actual players, the healthcare providers, not just the insurance companies, but hospitals, doctors and others, how are they feeling about it at this point? >> people seem to like individual elements of the health law.
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the polling has shown if you talk about no more annual limits, no more lifetime limits, people like that idea, keeping their adult child up to age 26 on their health insurance plan. but again the problem comes in looking at the affordability. it's really going to be a local story. we talk about this at the national level and it makes sense, but it really will depend on what is the risk pool, the premiums set up at the local and state level as people look at this going forward. >> woodruff: how do you see it? >> variable. the anecdotal evidence from some insurers is they're feeling pretty good about the risk pool, that lots of younger people have signed up. it won't be true nationally. we'll see other insurers with different experiences in different parts to have the country. same thing with healthcare providers. if you're in an area where there isn't a lot of access to, say, good primary care, some of the community health centers are feeling very much under the gun and overrun because so many people now are getting coverage and presenting the illnesses that they've had for a long time
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and haven't gotten care for for a long time. >> woodruff: so in terms of the reaction of hospitals, doctors, nurses, it's really -- it depends on where you are and what the structure of -- the healthcare structure is. >> very much psh work around the country. >> woodruff: you have been cover this non-stop since last together. this today is an important milestone, mary agnes. what would you say the next measuring milestone is. what do you look for next here? >> if people think it's good for them, do they find the coverage affordable, can they get access to the providers they wanted. some policies have high co-pays, deductibles and out of pocket costs. we talked about how many people paid their premium. the insurance industry says 80%, which is the industry standard, but as this goes on, do people sign up for a premium and say they just can't cut it, maybe the subsidies don't help enough, maybe they do, i think it will
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take a while to see if it works for people, if they think it's a good deal or not. >> woodruff: we'll be looking at the next open enrollment period. november 15th through february 15th of next year to see what the insurance premiums are in year two. are they going to go up substantially, be about the same? a long way between now and when we'll know the answer to that. >> woodruff: we appreciate it, susan dentzer, mary agnes carey. >> ifill: russia sent mixed signals today on ukraine, following a weekend meeting between u.s. secretary of state john kerry and russian foreign minister sergei lavrov in paris. russia did pull back one batallion from the border region. however, kerry said last night he is looking for more than that. >> any real progress in ukraine must include a pullback of the
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very large russian force that is currently massing along ukraine's borders. we believe that these forces are creating a climate of fear and intimidation in ukraine. >> ifill: meanwhile, russian prime minister dmitry medvedev visited crimea today and promised increased spending on infrastructure, and boosts to pensions and salaries. joining us to talk about where things stand today is chief foreign affairs correspondent margaret warner, who just returned from ukraine. welcome back, margaret. >> great to be back. >> ifill: we hear in one moment the russians amassing troops in the border, pulling back a battalion and hear dimitry medvedev is crimea today. >> the encouraging sign is president putin requested this meeting yesterday but they got nothing out of it. the american officials say every
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day we're talking is a day they're not invading but the intimidation factor is huge. they can use it against ukraine, as a bargaining chip with the united states, and it intimidates a country like moldova, west of ukraine, but has a tiny russian area. the medvedev visit, just as john kerry said, this vaccines of crimea illegitimate, the depp my minister traveling with medvedev tweeted "crimea is ours and that's that ." >> ifill: and he was promising everything to them. >> exactly. a wealthy oligarch said putin will scramble to make crimea into hong kong to compare it to struggling ukraine. >> ifill: so elections coming up in may. does kiev have any counterstrategy to keep any of this at bay? >> that is the counterstrategy.
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there's not really a legitimate president of the government of ukraine because yanukovich, the russian president, fled. so russia says, it's an illegitimate government, we're not talking to it. kiev, their strategy is a race against time. use eight weeks to get economic reforms going with the bailouts going, and, at the same time, bring about fair and credible elections on the 25th. they had a couple of good breaks this past two or three days. two of the big name reform candidates coalesced behind one, an oligarch known as the chocolate king. >> ifill: the candy factory. yes, and the russians shut down a factory in russia, saying they were unhealthy. the other thing is the party of regents, the pro-russian party of yanukovich, actually had a big battle over who they were going to nominate and nominated someone and american officials
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think that's encouraging because it makes it harder for russia to say, well, this election is really illegitimate, doesn't represent everyone, they're going to compete from one of the areas in the east. >> ifill: does the u.s., russia or the europeans have a long game in any of this? >> well, that's a very big question. the question is -- i mean, the putin's long game, i'm detecting, gwen, might not surprise you, u.s. officials assessing what putin's game plan or strategies or tactics will be, they think he's in for the long haul and he obviously wants to expand the sphere of russian influence back into the former soviet areas. but he really doesn't want a successful, prosperous, western-looking ukraine on russian's border or moldova, who also is thinking about signing the association agreement with the e.u. -- >> ifill: so he specifically mentioned a region of moldova in
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his communication with the president last week? >> yes, a tiny little region encircled by ukraine, but it's of moldova, they are very russian-leaning. in fact, i read today -- i haven't confirmed this, but at one point they voted to join russia and rust said no thanks. but russians hav have troops the and russia is making noise we'd like a land bridge from crimea to moldova. and now the commander of europe, breedlove, expressed worry about that. so the key point is putin has many instruments at his disposal other than outright invasion and that is destabilization of ukraine, economically, politically and many other ways to make all the other states around russia very antsy. >> ifill: no one is taking their eye off the ball on. this thank you, margaret and welcome home. >> thank you.
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>> woodruff: now, a look at a moment when national security interests trumped ethical concerns. jeffrey brown has our book conversation. >> reporter: nazi scientists, some tied to war crimes including horrific concentration camp experiments left the u.s. in a secret program to advance american security interests during the cold war. it sounds like the plot of a film drama but actually happened and on a large scale. the story is told in the new book operation paperclip: the secret intelligence program that brought nazi scientists to america." annie jacobsen joins us. they were sought out by the military as the war was coming to an end. >> these were hitler's top weaponmakers and operation paperclip became a military program to bring them to the united states and also had a public face. there was on the one hand the truth about the program kept secret and the other hand the
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idea that we'll tell the public that these are the good germans. >> brown: but they were dedicated nazis, the ones you write about. there were 1,600 in all. >> yes. >> brown: you document about 21, dedicated nazis, some involved in horrific stuff. what they did was known to the americans seeking them out? >> certainly to the american military intelligence officers interviewing them. the idea that they winnervolved in war crimes -- were involved in war crimes were necessary to be kept secret and that's what happened. in the book i think i unveil a lot of the truth about the program that's remained clouded for decades. >> brown: give us an example of a figure that intrigued you. >> i think one of the worst-case scenarios was that the united states military made the decision to bring walter scrheiber, the surgeon general
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of the third reich, he wound up at a military facility in texas. >> brown: doing what? in the war, the doctor had been involved in the vaccine program for the reich, which sounds like a nice program but was actually a program to work on protecting german soldiers from these biological weapons that were also being manufactured. so he was involved in war crimes in concentration camps. he became a prisoner of the soviets, and then defected to the united states. we saw him as someone who we absolutely wanted here for his knowledge. so in the united states, it still remains unknown what exactly he did, only that he worked for the u.s. air force in texas. >> brown: you know this becomes, of course, a story of practical versus ethical choices, right, decisions made whether to look the other way or forget about the past in order
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to advance and gain advantage over the soviets, it should be said, during the cold war. >> absolutely. i mean, the cold war got hot very quickly, and the soviet threat was this foreboding menace, and the idea was, certainly at the pentagon and among the joint chiefs of staff who were really running this program was, if we don't get these nazi scientists, surely the soviets will. >> brown: was there much debate at the time about the ethics of it? >> absolutely, there was a debate, and i think that's what makes the narrative so compelling because you have some people, including high-ranking generals at the pentagon, who are loathed to work withtxxd÷nof hitler's former scientists, and you have others who say this must be and will be done. >> brown: you said we don't really know much about the case of walter scheiber and what he did. some offwe do know. one is brown.
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>> yes, he came here at the rocket program and brought 114 fellow v2 rocketmakers with him and this program had a very ben i havbenefittent face. we only now know the facts of the slave labor factory deep in the tunnels that you had concentration camp prisoners building the v-2 rockets. >> brown: so in a case like that and others where we know that they did accomplish things for the u.s., when they came here, the only question, and you wrote this, does accomplishment cancel out past crimes? >> that is the conundrum of operation paperclip, and i hope people come to their own conclusion about that because certainly the idea that you would excuse some of this horrific, horrific behavior during the war becomes, you know, that big moral question.
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>> brown: and what happened to these guys in the end? a number of them just lived out their days quite well here in the u.s. >> you know, the obituary for dr. theodore benzager in the new york times sums it up, he died in 1999 and the "new york times" lauds him as a good german scientist who dedicated his life to the u.s. military. it leads out the fact he worked with hemler very closely during the war and on the original list of nuremberg's war crime trials, yet released into u.s. custody and came to the united states. so this idea that you can just whitewash someone's past i think is important to look into and to investigate so that that truth can be reconciled. >> brown: all right, a fascinating story, operation paperclip: the secret intelligence program that brought nazi scientists to america." annie jake, thanks so much.
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>> thank you for having me. blnchts >> ifill: finally tonight, the story of a high school basketball team struggling to break its long losing streak, for the players, and for the town they live in, medora, indiana. that's the subject of tonight's "independent lens" on p.b.s. here's an excerpt. >> do it again!no more missing . i'm sick of missed laps. this ain't seventh and eighth grade. there was one year here they averaged 40 points a game. one game, it was like 117 to 30. there's open goals that you need to shoot. >> i don't know how far back it goes, but i know for the last 20 years they've never had that real success. >> good. that's all you've got to do. >> you know, you get caught up in losing for so long, it's hard
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to get rid of the losing mentality. i don't want this acceptable attitude on losing, i don't want that, and i'm hoping to change that. all right! bring it down! first off, saturday, we just weren't where we needed to be, but we've got a lot of games left. get that first win, i think we're going to get several more, but we've got to get that first win. >> one, two, three, four, five! h, i hate losing. i just want to win so bad because i'm tired of everybody saying, like, how much we suck and medora's a joke when it comes to basketball. >> this is the first house i really remember living in. it don't even look like it should be back here.
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just looks like a corn field, some people decided to put trailers back here. my mom and dad used to be together when we lived here. (sighs) looks the same as when we lived in it. that's a church right there. that little parking garage thing. my mom, she kind of had some alcohol problems. she kind of went through this phase where, like, it got bad, to where i had to leave my mom. i moved out, stopped going to school. i got a job at a hardy's working
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60 hours a week, trying to make a quick buck wherever i could. right now my mom is in rehab and i'm living with my friend zach fish. we have been best friends for a while. >> rusty was living on his own like he was an adult. rusty had nowhere else to go. the streets, i mean, that's where he had to stay, in his vehicle, and i'm not letting that happen >> ifill: the full independent lens documentary, "medora," can be seen tonight on most p.b.s. stations. it's part of the "american graduate" public media initiative funded by the corporation for public broadcasting. developments of the day. >> woodruff: again, the major developments of the day. a u.n. scientific panel warned climate change will trigger food and water shortages and economic damage that may get out of control. general motors recalled another 1.3 million vehicles, this time for faulty power steering. and thousands of americans tried to beat the official deadline for getting health insurance.
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many will qualify for extensions. >> ifill: on the newshour online right now, migrants who cross the border into remote parts of the southwestern united states often face dangerous terrain. for women, there's additional risk: the threat of sexual assault. you can learn more in a story from fronteras, a public media collaboration. all that and more is on our web site, newshour.pbs.org. >> woodruff: and that's the newshour for tonight. on tuesday, we'll look at the c.e.o. of general motors taking questions from congress over the automaker's recent recalls. i'm judy woodruff. >> ifill: and i'm gwen ifill. we'll see you on-line, and again here tomorrow evening. for all of us here at the pbs newshour, thank you and good night. >> major funding for the pbs newshour has been provided by: ♪ ♪
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that's inspired work. >> and with the ongoing support of these institutions and foundations. and... >> this program was made possible by the corporation for public broadcasting. and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you.
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